New models of collective housing

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New models of collective housing

251 1st Street by ODA New York. Image © Miguel de Guzman / Imagen Subliminal

Housing production has been based on the same spatial configurations for nearly a century, responding to a vision of domestic life that is no longer the norm. The widespread housing shortage, the issue of affordability, the increase in one-person households and the aging of the population are prompting a reassessment of existing housing models to respond to a wider range of demographics and conditions. ” adapt to the changing needs of city dwellers. The following explores contemporary models of collective housing that provide the framework for new housing experiences and support current lifestyles.

R50 - Cohousing by ifau und Jesko Fezer + Heide & von Beckerath.  Image © Andrew AlbertsVan B residences in Munich.  Image courtesy of UNStudio and BauwerkDevelopment of Marmalade Lane cohousing by Mole Architects.  Image © David ButlerBay State Commons Cohousing by French 2D.  Image courtesy of CE X CE+ 9

The housing shortage is a significant challenge for urban environments, and many cities around the world are making plans to increase housing production. In the UK, the Affordable Homes Program plans to deliver 82,000 new homes by 2023, while Amsterdam intends to build 52,500 units by the end of 2025. For this reason, it is appropriate to reconsider what a contemporary home should provide and who it is for. . For the most part, housing production continues to meet the needs of the nuclear family. However, the number of one-person households has grown steadily around the world since the 1960s. In the United States, almost 30% of people live alone, and in the EU, around one-third of households are. composed of single adults, this number approaching 50% in the countries of Northern Europe. These data plead in favor of a reassessment of housing typologies and spatial arrangements.

Rethinking mass housing


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Development of Marmalade Lane cohousing by Mole Architects.  Image © David Butler
Development of Marmalade Lane cohousing by Mole Architects. Image © David Butler

“The community aspect of housing is going to be much more important alongside the further integration of technology.” says Ben van Berkel, founder of UNStudio, asserting that forms of community living reduce “the need for space compared to whether everyone privately claims a space for their amenities.” Indeed, although it takes many forms, from cohousing to coliving and all the intermediate variants, the determining characteristic of community life is the sharing of spatial resources. In recent years, community life forms have gained traction as a viable response to issues such as the housing shortage, the rising cost of living, the “loneliness epidemic” and changes within the fabric. social.

Van B residences in Munich.  Image courtesy of UNStudio and Bauwerk
Van B residences in Munich. Image courtesy of UNStudio and Bauwerk

Mass housing is being reconsidered from two angles at the same time. On the one hand, the domestic space is being redefined, and the border between private and public, individual and shared is redrawn. On the other hand, the ownership and development of projects is also reshaped, sometimes in opposite directions. With some versions of cohabitation, residents take ownership of the design and development process, giving birth to a new way of financing homeownership. At the same time, nomadic lifestyles have created the opportunity for a version of the habitat that is more akin to a subscription service. These aspects represent the main framework for the reassessment of mass pipes.

Residents as developers

R50 - Cohousing by ifau und Jesko Fezer + Heide & von Beckerath.  Image © Andrew Alberts
R50 – Cohousing by ifau und Jesko Fezer + Heide & von Beckerath. Image © Andrew Alberts

In Germany, the Baugruppen model is an alternative to investment-driven development in which residents become developers, resulting in joint ownership of the common space while residential units are individually owned. The R50 Baugruppen cohabitation project in Berlin, designed by Heide & von Beckerath and ifau with Jesko Fezer, is a company in which nineteen households have pooled funds for the construction of the project. The architects and group of residents collectively selected the site, and the building was developed through participatory design, with future residents reaching consensus on everything from common spaces to finishes. The project includes a range of shared spaces, including a rooftop terrace with a summer kitchen, a group-level community room, and shared balconies that wrap around the entire building. Interestingly enough, by collectively deciding on priorities, the cost ended up being lower than that of a typical apartment in the same area.

Bay State Commons Cohousing by French 2D.  Image courtesy of CE X CE
Bay State Commons Cohousing by French 2D. Image courtesy of CE X CE

Likewise, in their Bay State Commons Cohousing project, the French 2D architectural practice engaged the future residents who also developed the project themselves in a multi-year participatory process for the design of domestic and shared spaces. In this case, the issue was not just a question of spatial economy but of a fair distribution of domestic work, as the project (currently under construction) will include spaces where daily meals and childcare can be dealt with collectively.

Open building

The concept of an “open building” was developed in the 1960s by Dutch architect John Habraken, who is a champion of user participation in the design of mass housing. The concept promotes co-creation and co-ownership with a framework that falls somewhere between the cohabitation model and conventional mass housing developments, in the sense that it involves residents from the start, but the agency of the users. in design is limited to that of individual housing. Object One designed by the Dutch firm Space & Matter offers a flexible structural system that can adapt to a wide range of life scenarios. Residents can choose from 3 types of spaces in which they can design their own home according to individual needs, resulting in a mix of units of different sizes, some available for purchase and others for rent. “Like a city, Object One is never finished. Likewise, Object One lives, is used for a while and evolves as the needs and wishes of residents change, says Sascha Glasl, co-founder of Space & Matter.

Housing as a service

Courtesy of WeLive
Courtesy of WeLive

The escalating housing affordability crisis in major cities, economic and social changes have led to the (re) birth of coliving in recent years, with this micro-rental phenomenon becoming a popular trend in real estate. residential. Some see this commodification of space as revolutionary, while others have compared current cohabitation projects with high-end adult dorms. Designed and managed by companies, coliving, often described as the economy version of home sharing, reiterates the metropolitan hotel, where occupants rent private accommodation and share access to various amenities as well as to activities, on the basis of a sliding weekly package. or monthly contract. Living space is kept to a minimum and offset by extensive community space, a model that seeks to accommodate a growing demographic of one-person households.



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